Customer Reviews: Labyrinth: The War on Terror
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Customer Reviews

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on April 4, 2013
Labyrinth is attractively boxed with high-quality components including a Rulebook and a Playbook plus numerous player aids and event cards. Labyrinth can be played as a solitaire or two-person game and is quite suitable in the solitaire mode. There is a 22x34 geo-map board, 156 counters and 120 playing cards. The Playbook provides sample games for both two-player and solitaire and interesting background on the events depicted by the playing cards. The game is rated Medium on the complexity scale and Very High on Solitaire suitability. All in all, a well done game that is very playable while maintaining reasonable plausibility.
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on December 5, 2013
Such a fun game once you get past the learning curve (which for me is pretty big). This is about the most complexity in a game I want to endure, but it has been very rewarding. The different mechanics for each side's operations are delightful. Almost a different game when playing the other side. There's so much tension as the U.S. player in trying to keep WMDs out of the hands of the terrorists and when making that crucial War of Ideas die roll. The tension for the Jihadist player is in those Plot and Jihad rolls to try to ruin a country's governance. The various events work wonderfully, and really change the game depending on who draws them and when they turn up. "Martyrdom Operation" really causes some problems for the U.S.

Just the right amount of realism/abstract balance. Not too fiddly.

Some notable differences in how the game "feels" compared to Twilight Struggle (which it is unfairly compared to, IMO) are as follows. In L, it is much easier to play your hand of cards in such a way as to avoid triggering opponent's events than in TS. Many of the events have prerequisites that must be met, and oftentimes, they are not. So, the card can be played safely for Ops. In TS, it feels more act/react than in L. Of course, this also occurs at times in L, such as when terrorist cells move to the U.S. and the U.S. player needs to disrupt perhaps, or when the U.S. player foils plots. But, overall I feel less of the need to immediately react to the opponent's previous play--there are no scoring cards as in TS. Finally, a couple things about the card deck. First of all, there is only one set of cards in L. There is not three separate decks that get added sequentially as in TS. Also, the deck in L is much larger. So, even though you know that all cards are in the deck from the beginning of the game, you also know that once they are played, it won't be turning up again for a long time (Oil Price Spike does allow a player to take a card from the discard, however). It also seems that there are fewer events that are 'removed' when played, so the deck stays relatively thick throughout the game.

Rating based on 2-player game only. I have not played the solo game, but I appreciate that the designer has included it is an option.
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on August 26, 2013
The theme is definitely a bit controversial. The game is a solid card driven war game. The components are nice the cards are very durable. The game is super complex for an average board gamer. For an avid war gamer, it has all the meta play and chit counting that one would want ala Twilight Struggle. It is a super complex game with multiple layers of depth. The AI in solo player plays very predictably in the first few plays, but does get more advanced the more you learn the game. There are a lot of pieces to keep track of and if you don't like holding 10-15 things in your head at once about what needs to happen before x,y, or z can happen.

I'm not an avid war gamer but I love playing war games and area control games. I would only recommend you get this if you are an avid board gamer, an avid strategic planner in your daily life, or an avid board game war gamer. For those that still haven't familiarized themselves with the complex world of boardgames, this may not be the best intro to that world. I would suggest Memoir '44 or D Day dice as lighter war games, with different mechanics.
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on March 14, 2014
Labyrinth can be summed up as a game of tug of war albeit on an international scale. You play as either the US or Jihadist trying to "influence" a countries governance to favors your side. This is done through card play. While the subject matter is serious the game captures the current history in a way that gives the player a sence of behind the scene geopolitical brinkmanship.

Components: The components of the game are top notch. The game board is hard mounted, the cards are of good quality similar to that of bycicle playing cards and the counters and marker are thick and come in a variety of sizes. Also included are a rule book a play book two player aids and four 6-sided dice.

Game play: In a nut shell players take turns playing cards from their hand to influence countries in their favor. This goes back and forth until victory conditions are met. Sounds simple and in a scence it is but there is some deep strategy in the card play and many tough decisions to make.

Learning the game: the rule book is well done very readable and easy to reference however, you can not learn to play through the rule book alone. Smartly, the designers added a "play book" that walks you through a full hand of cards so you can grasp the concepts of the game. This is highly recommended.

The solo game: The game comes with an "AI" opponent in the form of a flow chart so the game can be played solo. The AI works well and is a tough opponent when a human opponent is not available. This is also a good way to learn the game and become familiar with various strategies.

Conclusion: The theme of the game is serious and is not be suitable for all ages however, the game is very well done and gives the players a scenes of tension. This game offers deep strategy tough decisions and runs deep with current history.
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on December 19, 2014
Labyrinth is a 2-player game in the genred of Twilight Struggle. Other reviewers have talked about its steep learning curve, but I would say that it is not exceptionally harder than the game just mentioned. Gameplay is not as straightforward nor does it have the same replay value as the other game however.

Labyrinth also offers a solitaire mode with a scripted "AI" which determines the actions the terrorists take. This is not a substitute for the standard 2-player game however. One major change is that the Jihadists do not trigger US events, which makes them too powerful and very difficult to beat. In my opinion, this eliminated all of the fun out of this mode of play.

I would recommend that if you know anyone who has this game, you play with them first before buying.
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on February 25, 2014
but found the process for determining the bot's movements to be uninteresting and confusing. It sat on my dining room table for a month before I finished the first game. I will try again later, but I have to be in the mood to decipher the rules.
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on April 2, 2015
Labyrinth: The War on Terror is a game unlike any I have played. I got it because I was interested in Twilight Struggle but was unsure I'd have someone to play with. Since this game supports solo I went with it instead. The gameplay is fun, albeit a bit long, and the decisions are really tense. The solo aspect is pretty good and the flowchart is relatively easy to understand.
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on April 6, 2016
Like all GMT games the learning curve is pretty steep, and the tactical and strategic mastery curve is even steeper. This game handles a unique and therefore fascinating theme, albeit heavy handily at times, but the mechanics of the game give a very different and true-to-life feeling to each of the factions. the cards seem at first to favour the Jihadists, but other aspects balance out the deck with the rest of the game.

I've only played a few times but similarly to Twilight Struggle [a masterpiece] this game is drenched with tension and excruciating decision making. I invariably end up finding myself standing up in this game because I'm too jittery trying to get my intricate strategies to go off.

Some people have complained about the treatment of the theme and the pretty obvious western bias evident in the event cards. For me that was not an issue because I play the game for the game, and not for the politics.
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on August 1, 2014
My favorite game, hands down. Great card driven mechanics and a pertinent period in time combine to make a tense and enjoyable play.
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on June 11, 2016
TS is still the best, fiddly, and not really worth the time for how fun it isnt.
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